SOUTH AFRICA First, the good news 28th February 1997 Having weathered political and economic storms in the past year, the ANC-led government is showing results After just over a thousand days in office, President Nelson Mandela and his ministers have a spring in their step. The rand is strengthening; the economic management is winning plaudits ahead of Finance Minister Trevor Manuel's first budget on 12 March. Some big uncertainties have been taken out of politics and business: Deputy President Thabo Mbeki is near certain to succeed Mandela, perhaps as early as the end of this year; and the government is committed to following an economic reform programme which sets out specific targets along the route. Black business is growing fast (although still only 17 of the 626 companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange are black-controlled). The trades unions, the civics and even the South African Communist Party have started their own investment organisations in their efforts to join the market economy.